Bainbridge State College pins 33 nurses at spring ceremony

Published 7:08 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2016

By Susanne Reynolds

Special to The Post-Searchlight


On Saturday, April 30, Bainbridge State College pinned 33 nursing students.

Jeffrey Ross, the Chair & Associate Professor of Nursing, welcomed guests to the ceremony on behalf of the Bainbridge State College administration, faculty and staff.

“The pinning ceremony is a time-honored nursing school tradition that occurs at the completion of the nursing program,” he said. “Often more personally meaningful that the graduation ceremony, the pinning ceremony signifies the official initiation into the brotherhood and sisterhood of nurses.”

According to Ross, the history of the rite of passage can be traced back to the Crusades of the Twelfth Century. The modern pinning ceremony, however, dates to the 1860s, when Florence Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of St. George in recognition for her tireless service to the injured during the Crimean War. To share the honor, she in turn presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates.

By 1916, the practice of pinning new graduates was standard throughout the United States. Each pinning ceremony shares the success of students while celebrating their dedication to the field of nursing. It is universal symbol of the pledge that students make to health care, and a sign they are now serving as a nurse.

During the ceremony, the nursing graduates, faculty and staff recognized, Ruby Barlow, who retired during the fall term. She was considered extremely influential in the success of the Associate of Science in Nursing (ADN) program during her tenure at Bainbridge State College. Interim Dean of Health Sciences and Professional Studies (HSPS), Jason Rubenbauer, was honored to be a part of the special day in the graduates’ lives.

He said, “This ceremony is a very important one for you because it marks the beginning of your career as a nurse. It is equally an important part of Bainbridge State College as we are now able to share your great accomplishment with the community and can now proudly send you on your way into your new nursing careers.”

The students were also spoken to by their nursing mentor, Henry Intili, who encouraged the students along their journey to becoming a nurse.

“Nursing is the most respected profession in America. It’s because when that nurse walks into your room, you know they are there to help you,” said Intili. “That’s completely different than in many professions. Nursing is different. People want to know why I do this. I do this because someday I am going to be the patient in a hospital bed, I want to know that I’m being cared for by the best.”

Prior to pinning, the following students received awards: Sabrina McNeil of Thomasville: ADN Nightingale Award; Marc DeCosta of Thomasville: ADN Program Academic Excellence Award; Stamey Avery of Colquitt: ADN Program Clinical Excellence Award; Alexis Bevis of Newton: ADN Program Clinical Excellence Award; and Melissa Bagwell of Iron City: ADN Program Leadership Award.

Once the graduates were pinned by their instructor, Nancy Hall, Jeffrey Ross invited the family of Jamie Phelps Sandefur to the stage. Sandefur was scheduled to be pinned with the rest of the class, but passed away before she completed her nursing degree.

In 2005, she graduated from Bainbridge State College with a certificate in Practical Nursing. She took and successfully passed boards to become an LPN. According to Ross, Sandefur was last employed at Bainbridge Health and Rehab, where she loved her patients and cared for them diligently. After working for a while, she realized the need to continue her education—and she began her journey to earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing.

To honor Jamie Phelps Sandefur’s perseverance and commitment to both education and nursing, Ross along with the faculty and staff presented her Lamp of Learning and nursing pin to her children—Summer, Sara and Cody.

Ross stated, “As you all look at these items and think of your mom, always remember her dedication to her family, education and the nursing profession.”